an epiphany expressed in science-speak and religionese
(science-speak) The most recent epiphany that I have had started with a discussion that I was having with one of my former teachers. (He is a history teacher that dabbles in theoretical physics. I am a recently graduated high school student who reads informal stuff on the same topic. Together we have some fascinating speculations and we both entertain the illusion that we know what we are talking about. It is great fun.) Anyway, we were talking about quantum entanglement, and the possibility that two entangled particles are actually two different manifestations of the same multidimensional object, the vast majority of which lies in dimensions that are difficult for us to observe. I was having a real difficult time using the word manifestation, and, in trying to explain why, I realized that I had been misusing the word for most of my life. You see, I was having a very difficult time accepting that an entire object, possibly millions of light-years large, could be entirely embodied in two images of a photon. You see, I thought that manifestation and incarnation were synonyms. However, I now understand that a manifestation is something that you can see, but is only a small part of the whole, only the little bit that is plainly evident in the world that we regularly observe, whereas incarnation is an entire idea or being (like god) being completely embodied in one form. So these two photons being a manifestation of a multiple light-year large object is an appropriate image, but not an incarnation. This new realization of these definitions had some serious implications for my religious views.
(religionese) Even the most fundamental Christian will agree that Jesus was more than a man. In fact, they would probably argue with anyone who said anything to the contrary. What, then, can we say that Jesus is? The stock answer is “the son of God”. Well, define your terms. Who is God? What does it mean to be His son? How is that different than all of us being children of God? I have never actually had the guts to ask these questions to anybody, (and would greatly appreciate any comments that attempt answer(s)). I personally cannot come close to answering any of them. In fact, I have never really been able to understand any part of the trinity except the Holy Spirit. If it were not for that third of God, I would probably be an atheist. God incarnate (aka Jesus) does not make any sense, nor does this ephemeral word ‘God’ that is somehow separate from the Holy Spirit that is all around us.
Anyway, although my recent realization of the definition of “manifestation” (a smaller, more plainly evident part of something bigger) as opposed to “incarnation” (a complete embodiment) has helped me, it has not answered most of the questions above. It has, however, lead me to understand one of the possible roles of Jesus. He was not meant to take the place of the Holy Spirit, only to be a more tangible form of it. Although his body is long gone in the ascension, his teachings still remain. That remnant of His mind, of His connection with the Father, helps us to gain a more solid hold on the invisible Holy Spirit. He is a manifestation, a small, tangible part of something bigger.
I still have no idea who God the Father is. I also realize that my definition of Jesus might be considered heretical, and am open to any other definitions if people are willing to post them.
Let me leave you with another heretical thought, expressed in religionese. Rom 1:20 “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:” If people who have never heard the words of the Bible are still responsible for their content, then it must be possible to derive the essential bits from the observable parts of nature. Although it is always better to have a teacher, it is possible to figure stuff out on your own. This figuring stuff out from nature is exactly what scientists try to do, but they are trying to do so from the observable universe alone. That verse implies that it is possible for them to succeed.